AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Dude, what's an Oldsmobile?
Everybody loves talking about millennials but nobody does anything about them. Roughly speaking this demographic encompasses young – and not-so-young – folks born in the early 1980s to about 2000. With birth years spanning two decades this is a huge group of very diverse people.
It’s a dangerous world out there. Buying a new vehicle has more perils and pitfalls than the Atari game of nearly the same name. Instead of swinging from vines or jumping over obstacles, car shoppers can skip the aerobic workout by simply visiting AutoGuide.com. We’re here to help and we’re glad to do it.
To Frugality and Beyond!
Fuel economy is a major purchase consideration for new-vehicle shoppers; in fact it’s the No. 1 thing they look for in a car or truck. Consumers continue to demand ever greater mileage, and so does the federal government. Washington keeps turning up the wick on its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations. In response to these stimuli automakers are working day and night to improve the efficiency of their products.
SEE ALSO: Used Car Reviews
Of course not everyone is in the market for a shiny new ride. Many people opt for a pre-owned vehicle instead. Used cars and trucks can be terrific values, especially when certification programs and extended warranties are factored in. If new-vehicle buyers want better fuel economy it’s a safe bet second-hand shoppers are salivating for it as well. Here’s a list of 10 economy-minded used vehicles that will maximize you MPG. To qualify the cars and trucks listed are at least one generation behind the latest model on the market.
Because Creativity is Overrated
What’s the most important step a manufacturer undertakes when creating a new car? Building a great chassis? Getting the interior ergonomics right? Providing the perfect drivetrain to complement the new product? Nope. All wrong. The really, really important factor for any new car is getting the name right.
All joking aside, a vehicle’s name is very important. Slap a clever name on a car and it can help boost sales. Conversely, choose a bad name for a vehicle, like Probe or Dictator, and it can hurt sales. Manufacturers spend a lot of time and money analyzing potential model names.
Well, that’s usually what happens, but sometimes, the creativity well runs dry. Every now and then a new vehicle receives a name that leaves us all wondering: “Really? That’s all they could think of?” Not to get confused with naming conventions that are just lazy, like Mazda’s numbered sequence or Mercedes-Benz’s lettered sequence. No, we are referring to model names that give the perception maybe the marketing team forgot to show up one day and the engineers were left in charge of naming the new ride. “We are pleased to announce the latest from Hyonbaru Motors, ‘The Car!” Don’t laugh, some the following models are even worse.
After a series of complaints about seats failing to latch properly in 2004 Ford Windstars and Mercury Monterey minivans, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is upgrading its inquiry of the 63,000 vans from an investigation to an engineering analysis.
Speeding is dangerous. Speeding at night time while drunk is just stupid. Doing all that with young children on board has to be among the dumbest things a person can do.
However, Oregon Police had to deal with just such a driver this morning. Maria Elena Andres, 30, was cited for speeding at about 2:20 a.m. Her car finally stopped after a half-hour chase, which ended with the police using a spike strip to pop the tires on her 1998 Mercury Sable.
When the state troopers approached her car, they found her four-year old son and nine-year old daughter in the back seat. Thankfully they were belted in the car and unharmed.
Andres was taken to Lane County Jail and was charged with eluding the police, driving under the influence of intoxicants, and two counts of reckless driving. Her children were turned over to the Department of Human Services.
The exact details of her fines or jail time have not been published, but at least her children are in safer custody.
[Source: Oregon Live]
This one almost left us speechless. Almost. Up for sale in Chicoutimi, QC, Canada is a custom 1993 Mercury Topaz that’s been converted to a pickup truck. Yes you heard that correctly, the 2.3L four-cylinder, front-wheel drive Topaz can now haul around… well, anything!
The 1993 Mercury Topaz had all of 96-hp from its 2.3L, four-cylinder powerplant. And why anyone would think it would be a good idea to convert the automatic transmission-equipped crap-box to a pickup truck is beyond us. But hey, according to the for sale post it’s very economic, just got a new windshield, and new battery. And now it’s looking for a new owner.
GALLERY: 1993 Mercury Topaz Pickup
After encountering 30 incidents involving cracked wheel studs and steel wheels separating from the vehicles, Ford will be recalling 128,616 2010 and 2011 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans to fix the issue.
An investigation by NHTSA led to the recall, though no injuries have been reported. Ford will notify owners of the affected vehicles, inspect them at dealerships and replace any components free of charge. Check out the official article below the jump for more information.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has upgraded their investigation into consumer complaints that the 2010 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan vehicles are affected by wheel stud fractures that cause the wheels to come off.
The initial investigation of 317,315 Ford mid-sized sedans has been upgraded to an engineering analysis after more than 29 complaints and 128 warranty related claims were filed because of these fractures. ”We’ll fully cooperate with the government as they review this matter,” Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood said. “We are not aware at this point of any allegations of injuries related to this matter.” The current engineering analysis investigation does not always lead to recalls, but that situation has not yet been ruled out.
[Source: Automotive News]
A Bugatti Veyron costs over $2 million, not exactly in the price range for the majority of people on this planet. So what happens when you really want to rock a Bugatti Veyron but can’t afford it? Convert your existing car to look like one, that’s how. This enthusiast in Palm Bay, Florida did exactly that, taking his ultra-dull Mercury Cougar and fabricating a whole new body onto it to resemble a Bugatti Veyron.
Based on the photos, we’re pretty darn impressed by the craftsmanship that went into the project, even if the idea is ridiculous. The builder states that a one-inch tubular steel-frame was glassed onto the Cougar along with plenty of composite and fiberglass to construct the Bugatti body. Along with the Veyron body conversion, the owner had it repainted in Ferrari red and black, with a two-tone scheme found on genuine Veyrons.
Other than the 20-inch staggered wheels, the rest of the car is stock. That means you’ll get to look the part of sporting a Bugatti, but miss out on the performance that the Veyron is notorious for. The stock Cougar 2.5L V6 is packing 120,000 miles too, so we hope whoever ends up buying it off eBay gets themselves a motor swap… maybe one from a Veyron? Nah, that would just be silly; who would want to do such a thing?
GALLERY: Mercury Cougar Converted Bugatti Veyron
Speed Channel is gearing up to release The Car Show, a talk show led by Adam Carolla, Dan Neil, John “Spider” Salley and AutoGuide contributor Matt Farah.
The show hits the air on July 13. In the short clips released, the hosts tell us about their very first vehicles and driving experiences, ranging from a Honda 400 Four in the case of Adam Carolla to Matt Farah’s 1993 Mercury Villager LS. Oh Matt, look how far you’ve come.
Check out all the hosts stories of their first cars after the jump!
Car owners are more satisfied with independent shops for maintenance, according to a latest Consumer Reports Annual Survey. The survey was based on more than 92,000 reports on service visits to independent mechanics and 230,000 service visits to new car dealerships.
Buick and Lincoln were among the leaders with a score of 93, on a scale from 0 to 100, including service experience. Independent shops received 93 and 94 points for maintenance. Cadillac, Land Rover and BMW followed closely, each earning 92 points for dealership service experience.
The overall consensus was that respondents were more satisfied with service from independent mechanics compared to service from new car dealerships for maintenance-only service.
[Source: Consumer Reports]
NHTSA is investigating the 2010-2011 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner for a rear window that could potentially shatter. So far, the government agency has received 18 complaints regarding the rear window shattering when the tailgate is opened or closed.
200,000 Escape and Mariner vehicles will now be investigated, and Ford has issued a service bulletin regarding the problem. One woman and her 10 year old son were reportedly injured by glass shards. Ford and NHTSA have not issued recalls yet, but a Ford spokesman told the Detroit News that they were “aware of the investigation.”
[Source: Detroit News]
Normally we have huge gripes about an awesome concept with poor execution, but this time we can’t bring ourselves to complain. OK, sure it’s not exactly at the top of our list of things to do – nor would we be the ones forking out the cash for it – but we can’t say it’s the most horrible idea in the world. Is it bad? Sure. Is it awful? Maybe. Is the finished product really that bad? Not really.
Starting with a 1999-2002 Mercury Cougar, some aspiring entrepreneur came up with a Bugatti Veyron kit car. It’s clearly a whole lot of fibreglass work to do the conversion, and at the end of the day you’re still missing all the performance the Veyron has to offer, and we’re not even getting into the interior amenities. But hey, if you’ve got $89,000 lying around and you live to fake the funk this kit car may be for you.
Or if you just live in some real rural area where no one would be the wiser, this may be the best investment you’ve ever done.
GALLERY: Bugatti Veyron Kit Car
It’s official, the very last Mercury has now left the building. On Tuesday, January 4th at 8:00 am, said vehicle, a 2011 Grand Marquis, finally rolled off the line at the St. Thomas plant, which has been building these body-on-frame behemoths for 25 years.
Originally the car was slated to be completed before the new year, but delays in parts shipments, caused by severe weather in Southwestern Ontario, pushed production into the first days of the new year.
Even until the very end, the Grand Marquis remained a highly profitable vehicle for Lincoln-Mercury dealers as well as the best selling car in the lineup. As was probably expected, there was little fanfare or celebration, as the car was rolled on to the transporter, to be delivered as part of a fleet order.
Although the Merc represented the last Grand Marquis built at St Thomas, it isn’t quite the end of Panther chassis production. Ford Crown Victorias will continue to be assembled there, primarily for police and taxi fleets, until September, when the plant is scheduled to close.
After 71 years of acting as Ford’s middle child, the final nail in the Mercury coffin was pounded in, as dealers removed all remnants of Mercury logos and signs from their dealerships, marking the end of the brand’s existence once and for all.
Mercury vehicles ended production in October, although a final order for government agencies continued to be produced. Although Mercury produced some iconic vehicles, such as the early sedans used in the hot-rodding community, and the Cougar muscle car, the brand became little more than cosmetically enhanced Ford products throughout the 1980′s and 1990′s, giving consumers scant reason to purchase a Mercury vehicle.
[Source: Detroit News]
The very last Mercurys might be rolling off the assembly lines as this blog is posted, but the brand will likely have a long future yet, at least in classic car circles.
If marques like Edsel, Plymouth and Studebaker are anything to go by, then Mercurys will likely resonate with collectors and car enthusiasts long after the name becomes a distant memory amongst regular consumers. Mercury also has a number of cars produced in it’s 72 year existence that will likely attract more collector attention than most.
The 1940s ‘woodie’ wagons and convertibles are highly prized among collectors, while the 1949-51 ‘Bathtub’ Mercurys have long been a favorite with custom car fans. Cars like the Cyclone, Cougar (shown) and Marauder also rank among the best of the muscle car era.
And prices seem to reflect a growing demand for Mercurys on the auction circuit. Not too long ago, a 1969 Cougar (a luxury XR7, not a performance oriented Eliminator), went under the gavel for almost $100,000 at one of Mecum’s Auctions, while RM sold a 1946 Mercury Sportsman Woodie for a staggering $368,000.
But there are those that believe it will be tough for Mercury to perhaps resonate with tomorrow’s collectors who might have little idea of the brand’s storied history. However, Garry Bennett, V-P of Consignment for Barrett-Jackson, believes that the brand will follow in the manner of some other ‘orphan’ makes, with certain cars especially, attracting a following. Not too long ago he said, “the fact that they’re going to discontinue [Mercury], it’s going to create new awareness.”